Brightsurf Science News & Current Events

November 28, 2005
Men, check your blood pressure before checking in for plastic surgery
As a holiday luxury, many people give themselves the gift of plastic surgery.

Shade trees getting 'scorched' by plant disease
Bacterial leaf scorch is severely affecting urban shade trees grown not only to provide shade, but to help clear the air, reduce noise, and improve the aesthetics in many US communities, say plant pathologists with The American Phytopathological Society (APS).

Over-the-counter arthritis drug might also help against MS, Jefferson neuroscientists find
Glucosamine, the over-the counter natural product that has been touted to help with joint and cartilage problems associated with arthritis, may also provide some relief to individuals with multiple sclerosis (MS), a degenerative, nervous system disease with no known cure.

Depressed heart patients skip medications, have elevated stress hormones
Recent studies conducted at the San Francisco VA Medical Center suggest two possible mechanisms for the widely recognized link between depression and adverse outcomes in patients with coronary heart disease: lack of adherence to medication regimens and increased levels of norepinephrine, a stress hormone.

Virtual colonoscopy performance enhanced by computer-aided detection
Computed tomography (CT) colonography with computer-aided detection (CAD) is highly effective for finding colon polyps, according to a large-scale, multi-center study conducted by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and presented today at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).

Inflammatory markers may help predict stroke risk in middle-aged people
In addition to traditional risk factors such as diabetes, high blood pressure, age, and race, a particular enzyme and protein found in the blood may help identify middle-aged men and women at increased risk for ischemic stroke, according to a study in the November 28 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Study links progressive aphasia syndrome to prion gene
Most people with a rare type of dementia called primary progressive aphasia (PPA) have a specific combination of prion gene variants, a new study shows.

Rutgers College of Nursing faculty member to receive a Diva Award
The Institute for Nursing of the New Jersey State Nurses Association Foundation will present one of its Diva awards to Julia R.

New technology may help radiologists find more breast cancers
Digital tomosynthesis shows promise over conventional film mammography as a more specific breast screening technique and a more accurate diagnostic technology, according to a study presented today at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).

Squinting while staring at a computer monitor can cause painful dry eye
Squinting at a computer screen can cut in half the number of times someone blinks each minute.

Gene linked with precursor to visual loss
Research findings published in the open access journal PLoS Medicine reveals that common missense variant, Y402H, in the Complement Factor H gene is associated strongly with soft drusen, a precursor of advanced age-related macular degeneration.

U of MN study shows nicotine vaccine has promise for helping smokers quit
A University of Minnesota study indicates that the nicotine vaccine NicVax, which is now being tested in humans, appears safe, well-tolerated, and a potentially effective method for helping smokers kick the habit.

National Science Foundation awards $13.3 million for Globus Toolkit development
The National Science Foundation (NSF) has made a five-year, $13.3 million award to sustain and enhance the Globus Toolkit, the software that underpins a rapidly increasing number of large information-intensive science projects in the United States and abroad.

Widespread media coverage contributes to rapid decline in HRT prescribing
The number of women prescribed Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) fell rapidly in the Netherlands after widespread media coverage of the UK's Million Women Study, according to a paper in the December issue of the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology.

National snapshot of children's development
Nearly a quarter of Australian children could be developmentally at risk, according to the findings of the Australian Early Development Index (AEDI), a national research project that measures children's developmental progress as they enter school.

AMBER looks into the cradle of planets
Two international teams of astronomers, among them researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy, have captured new views of the immediate environment of stars, where new planets form from gas and dust.

Sharp vision reveals intimacy of stars
Two international teams of astronomers observed with unprecedented detail the environment of two stars using the newly installed AMBER instrument on ESO's Very Large Telescope Interferometer, which combines the light from two or three 8.2-m Unit Telescopes thereby amounting to observe with a telescope of 40 to 90 metres in diameter.

A wake-up call: Smoking after cancer diagnosis affects care and research
A pair of articles from The University of Texas M.

Agriculture of conservation proves to be best for cereal crops
The application of conservation agriculture techniques to cereal crops in the semiarid zones of Navarre - 57 percent of the surface area given over to crop cultivation in Navarre - is most profitable for conventional agriculture and improves the quality of the soil, apart from contributing to the sustainability of the environment.

Nerac delivers new research solution
Nerac, Inc., a leader in technology information research, announces the launch of Nerac 180, a new hybrid search offering for engineers.

Have these experts drilled the world's smallest hole?
Experts at Cardiff University, UK, have developed machinery so sophisticated that they can drill a hole narrower than a human hair.

Snapshots at the atomic border
Semiconductor technology has long existed at the nanoscale; circuits in computer chips are nowadays only a few dozen nanometres wide (one nanometre = one millionth of a millimetre).

The unfolding of amyloid's true colors
The authors of a paper published in the open access journal PLoS Biology show that native Pmel17 amyloid found in mammalian melanosomes accelerates melanin synthesis.

Distance from radiation therapy facility impacts breast cancer treatment
The farther away a woman lives from a radiation therapy facility, the less likely she is to get lumpectomy with adjuvant radiation therapy for early stage breast cancer, and may instead get mastectomy, according to a new study.

Brain structure associated with fear inhibition also may influence personality
The relationship between the size of a brain structure and the ability to recover from traumatic experiences also may influence overall personality type.

AIUM discourages the sale and use of ultrasound equipment for personal use in the home
In response to recent news of a celebrity purchasing an ultrasound machine for home use, the American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine (AIUM) reaffirms its statement on the prudent use of ultrasound.

Oil mist reduces airborne hazards in concentrated swine feeding operation
A specially developed oil mixture reduced airborne levels of particulate matter at a concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO) in a study conducted by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Studying brain activity could aid diagnosis of social phobia
People suffering generalised social phobia experience increased brain activity when confronted with threatening faces or frightening social situations, new research shows.

For many public buildings, form doesn't follow function, study finds
When you look at the exterior of a building, can you tell whether the building is a city hall, an art museum, a library, or a live theater?

NSF funds probe of the quintessence of surprise
We ignore some sudden noises, while others make us take action.

Major ovarian cancer clinical study announced at Yale using combination drug therapy
A clinical study of ovarian cancer initiated by investigators at Yale School of Medicine will combine the anti-cancer drug phenoxodiol with docetaxel for women with recurrent ovarian cancer.

Institute for OneWorld Health hosts panels at ASTMH
The Institute for OneWorld Health, the first nonprofit pharmaceutical company in the US, is sponsoring two symposia at the 54th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (ASTMH).

Many smokers fail to quit after cancer diagnosis
A new report says despite a growing body of evidence that continued smoking after a cancer diagnosis has substantial adverse effects on treatment effectiveness, overall survival, risk of other cancers, and quality of life, up to one-half of cancer patients who smoke continue to do so or relapse after trying to quit.

Plants reveal a secret and bring researchers nearer a cleaner future
Using sunlight to power our homes is an unaccomplished dream due to the inefficient technology for the use of solar energy.

Australian scientists awarded $1m research fellowships
Scientists undertaking groundbreaking work into glaucoma and chemotherapy have each been awarded $1m research grants, Pfizer Australia announced.

Tropical dry forests receive international recognition
When most people think of tropical forests, rainforests immediately come to mind.

School programs targeting antisocial behavior also can boost test scores, grades
Schools adopting programs that target antisocial behavior are also likely to boost their students' academic performance, according to a new study.

Agricultural workers at increased risk for infection with animal flu viruses
Farmers, veterinarians and meat processors who routinely come into contact with pigs in their jobs have a markedly increased risk of infection with flu viruses that infect pigs, according to a study funded in part by NIAID.

Feeling fat in the festive season? It's all in your mind
Feeling thin or fat is an illusion constructed in the brain, according to a new study published in the journal Public Library of Science Biology.

UK is first to administer new anti-clotting technology
Volunteers at the University of Kentucky Gill Heart Institute were the first ever to receive a new anti-clotting therapy.

Europe needs an integrating patent culture for the promotion of innovation
The Fourth European Patent Office epoline® Annual Conference took place in Athens on 23 and 24 November 2005.

ESC issues policy statement on reperfusion therapy
A pivotal influence on patient outcome in ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI), reperfusion therapy is the most important component of STEMI treatment.

Carotid artery stenting improves thought process
Stenting of the carotid artery significantly improves cognitive speed and may improve memory function in some patients, according to research presented today at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).

Bionic fiction becomes science fact...
A highly dexterous, bio-inspired artificial hand and sensory system that could provide patients with active feeling, is being developed by a European project.

ESA participating in UN's Montreal summit working for a better atmosphere
Delegations from 190 nations will attend next week's United Nations summit in Montreal, Canada, to begin negotiating a post-Kyoto Protocol strategy to restrict emissions of heat-trapping gases that drive climate change.

AIUM to host annual convention
The American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine (AIUM) will hold its 2006 Annual Convention and Preconvention Program at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington, DC, Thursday through Sunday, March 23-26, 2006.

Feeling fat in the festive season? It's all in your mind
Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) during a perceptual illusion suggests that activity in the parietal cortex is important for the integration of body image information, according to a paper published in the freely-available online journal PLoS Biology.

An insecure role for Securin in chromosome segregation
A paper published in the open access journal PLoS Biology shows that previously reported chromosome instability and loss due to Securin gene knockout is a transient effect; human cells may have compensatory mechanisms to overcome Securin gene loss.

Rensselaer earth research featured at AGU fall meeting in San Francisco
Sixteen Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute researchers will present results ranging from imaging earthquake activity at the San Andreas Fault to exploring life in extreme environments at the 2005 American Geophysical Union (AGU) Fall Meeting Dec.

ACS Green Chemistry Institute and its director named to Scientific American 50 for 2005
The American Chemical Society's Green Chemistry Institute and its director, Paul T.

Researcher solve one mystery of high-temperature superconductors
An experimental mystery -- the origin of the insulating state in a class of materials known as doped Mott insulators -- has been solved by researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Short-term survival rates better for US vs. Canadian heart failure patients
Investigators at Yale School of Medicine and the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences, Ontario, Canada, report that elderly heart failure patients hospitalized in the United States have better short-term survival than those in Canada, but lose that advantage over time.

Earth-Moon observations from Venus Express
A recent check of the VIRTIS imaging spectrometer during the Venus Express commissioning phase has allowed its first remote-sensing data to be acquired, using Earth and the Moon as a reference.

Thyroid condition associated with increased heart failure risk among older adults
A hormonal condition known as subclinical hypothyroidism is associated with an increased risk of congestive heart failure among older adults, but not with other cardiovascular events and death, according to a study in the November 28 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Security gets framed
Despite millions of dollars spent by IT companies, digital security still contains more holes than a Swiss cheese.

Climate change: Canadian technology to reduce emissions around the world
Made-in-Canada technology is contributing to the global solution to climate change, with the help of the Government of Canada.

Study searches for deadly warning signs linking domestic violence victims
A new collaboration involving the University of Cincinnati School of Social Work, the Hamilton County Domestic Violence Death Review Panel and the Rape Crisis & Abuse Center of Hamilton County (formerly Women Helping Women) examines public information on intimate partner violence that ends in death.

MIT sleuths discover quick way to new materials
In work that could radically change how engineers search for new materials, MIT researchers have developed a way to test the mechanical properties of almost 600 different materials in a matter of days - a task that would have taken weeks using conventional techniques.

Hospitalization rates for infectious diseases increase among older adults
Due in part to a growing population of older adults, there was a 13 percent increase in the infectious disease hospitalization rate between 1990 through 1992 and 2000 through 2002, according to a study in the November 28 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Poor health, poverty and minority status are major factors in depression
Preliminary results from the STAR-D project, one of the nation's largest studies of depression, show that chronic depressive episodes are common and are associated with poorer physical health, lower quality of life, socioeconomic disadvantage and minority status.

Radiation treatment prolonged liver cancer patients' lives, U-M study finds
Researchers are reporting success with a new method of attacking liver cancer.

New blood test may improve risk assessment for ischemic stroke in middle aged adults
diaDexus, Inc. and the Methodist DeBakey Heart Center today announced the publication of a landmark study in the American Medical Association's Archives of Internal Medicine demonstrating a greater than 11-fold increased risk of ischemic stroke in individuals with high levels of both lipoprotein-associated phospholipase A2 (Lp-PLA2), an enzyme related to arterial plaque formation, and C-reactive protein (CRP), a marker of general inflammation.

Award for work on hypertension
At the Congress of the Sociedad Española de Cardiología (Spanish Cardiology Association), held recently in Barcelona, specialists from Navarre received the prize for the best paper presented -- from amongst the hundreds presented.

Obesity prevents injections from reaching muscle
Women and the obese may not be getting the most out of vaccines and other injections, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).

Anti-aging secrets are in the cards
A new set of trading cards from SAGE Crossroads offers a fun look at the brains behind the latest theories on aging and immortality.

Biotechnology's newest chemical tool
Exploiting biology's own chemical toolbox, researchers have developed a new technique that will enable them to modify specific sequences within a DNA molecule.

DNA barcodes put to the test
An examination of the efficacy of barcoding using a comprehensive sample of marine gastropods reveals that the method performs poorly for identifying closely related species in taxonomically understudied groups.

Launch of the 2006 NIH Director's Pioneer Award program
This is the start of the third year of the NIH Director's Pioneer Award program.

US patients with heart failure have better short-term survival rates than Canadian patients
Elderly patients with heart failure who are hospitalized in the United States have lower death rates at 30 days than patients hospitalized in Canada for the same illness, but one-year death rates are similar in the US and Canada, according to a study in the November 28 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

First human tests of antidepressant bupropion as methamphetamine addiction treatment hold promise
A new study led by researchers at UCLA's Semel Institute suggests the antidepressant bupropion may help treat methamphetamine addiction.

New research targets treatment for dementia and brain injuries
Queensland Brain Institute (QBI) researchers have identified a process that could lead to development of repair mechanisms for people suffering from dementia and acquired brain injury.

Link between exposure to pollutants and type 2 diabetes
People exposed to high levels of persistent organochlorine pollutants (POPs), which are most likely to come from eating fatty fish such as salmon, might be at risk of developing diabetes.

Surprise! Computer scientists model the exclamation point
Two Southern California engineers have created a mathematical theory of surprise, working from first principles of probability theory applied to a digital environment -- and the results of experiments recording eye movements of volunteers watching video seem to confirm it.

From intelligent cars to the prevention of heart attacks
The Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) will establish 12 new Collaborative Research Centres as of 1 January 2006.

Yale engineers make standardized bulk synthesis of nanowires possible
A team of Yale scientists have demonstrated a method to understand effective synthesis of semiconductor nanowires (NWs) for both their quality and quantity, according to a report published in the journal Nanotechnology.

Higher dose formulation of FOSRENOL® approved to reduce serum phosphorus in esrd patients
The US FDA has approved a new, higher dose formulation of the chewable non-calcium phosphate binder FOSRENOL® (lanthanum carbonate).

Lost neurons affect energy balance
Mice are genetically engineered for the progressive degeneration of hypothalamic neurons containing the neuropeptides Pomc and Agrp.
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